These two natural substances are able to break apart blood clots before the latter become big enough to cause serious harm. They can even prevent the clots from forming in the first place.
The herbal extract does more than prevent unnecessary clotting. It can also increase the flexibility of the walls of blood vessels. It is also able to stimulate the circulation of blood within the smallest blood vessels.
Maritime pine bark and nattokinase extracts may offer natural alternatives to anticoagulant drugs. The latter, in particular, is synthetic and might cause severe side effects, such as internal bleeding.
The findings are timely, given that 900,000 adults in the U.S. develop blood clots in their veins every year. Among these, 1 in 9 cases results in a loss of life. This has led experts to compare long periods of sitting down with smoking, especially how bad it is to a person's health. (Related: This simple herbal mixture can be used to prevent blood clots.)
Pycnogenol is an extract derived from the bark of the maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). It contains a lot of polyphenols that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.
The extract causes blood vessels to dilate, thereby improving circulation. It does this by stimulating the enzyme that produces nitric oxide in the vessels.
It also makes blood platelets less likely to clump together, which reduces the chances that a blood clot will form. These properties make maritime pine bark extract effective at preventing deep vein thrombosis caused by long periods of sitting still.
Furthermore, it lowers the risk of post-thrombotic syndrome. In this thrombosis-related complication, blood accumulates in the leg, which can cause discoloration, swelling, and even ulcers.
A 2011 study conducted by Pescara University researchers reported that pine bark extract improved cases of post-thrombotic syndrome just as well or even better than compression stockings. Participants who took the extract experienced reduced swelling in their ankles and legs.
They also reported that it was easier to comply with the extract-based treatment. The compression stocking treatment resulted in discomfort, especially during spells of warm weather.
Natto is an increasingly popular superfood from Japan. A food paste made from fermented soybeans, it contains the enzyme nattokinase.
Nattokinase is able to break down fibrin, the primary protein used in blood clots. It also does the same to fibrinogen, one of the ingredients that make up fibrin.
By breaking down fibrin and fibrinogen, nattokinase can prevent clotting. And unlike synthetic anticoagulants, it does not cause bleeding or other side effects.
Nattokinase is safe to take alongside pine bark extract. When taken together, their effectiveness at preventing deep vein thrombosis increases.
A 2003 human trial conducted by G. D'Annunzio University tested the herbal mixture on passengers taking a long flight. It found that participants who took the pine bark extract and nattokinase were able to avoid blood clotting incidents. They also enjoyed fewer cases of leg swelling related to post-thrombosis syndrome.
In addition to taking these extracts, people who have to sit still for lengthy periods of time should take a break every hour. Stand up and walk for five to 10 minutes. This gets the blood in your veins circulating.
To learn more about the thrombosis-preventing abilities of natto-derived extracts, check out AlternativeMedicine.news.